A California-based CBD company was ordered by a judge to pay actor Clint Eastwood $2,029,245.07 on August 2, 2022 according to a report by Law360. The company Garrapata, LLC filed a Complaint
against Norok Innovation, Inc. and Eric Popowicz and others alleging trademark infringement. Garrapata holds all trademarks related to Mr. Eastwood and Mr. Eastwood’s name and persona rights apart from those he grants in connection with the promotion and exploitation of the films he makes.
The article noted that Eastwood brought the infringement claims against Norok and Popowicz in a January 2021 suit, which was his second suit in less than a year against the pair. Law360 reported that Eastwood initiated his first lawsuit against Norok and Popowicz in July 2020, alleging similar claims, but the action was voluntarily dismissed in November 2020. The company makes CBD products under the name Terahemp.
The Judge’s order stated, “Defendants, and their officers, agents, employees, representatives, and all persons acting in concert or participating with them, are permanently restrained
and enjoined from (1) engaging in or performing directly or indirectly the use of Clint Eastwood’s name, likeness, and personal to promote and sell any products, and (2) using any names, words, designations or symbols consisting of, incorporating in whole or part, or otherwise similar to Clint or Eastwood or any other common law trademark owned by Garrapata or Mr. Eastwood in any buried code, hidden field, metatags, search terms, keywords, key terms, hits generating pages, or any other devices used, intended, or likely to cause any web site or web sites listed by any Internet search engines in response to any searches that include any terms identical with or confusingly similar to the Clint Eastwood mark.”
The original complaint alleged that the CBD company would strategically place Mr. Eastwood’s name within blog posts and webpage meta descriptions (content that describes and summarizes the contents of a given webpage for the benefit of users and search engines to locate) as a means to promote CBD products and guide customers to an online marketplace that sells CBD products, but without Mr. Eastwood’s knowledge or permission. The complaint also stated that Eastwood has a long-standing history of rejecting third party licenses and has never been associated with any CBD company.
The complaint described the method by writing, “By using Mr. Eastwood’s name in hidden metatags, Defendants have figuratively posted a sign with Mr. Eastwood’s trademark in front of their online store to attract consumers and caused the consuming public to believe that Mr. Eastwood is associated with and/or endorsed the CBD Online marketplace and/or the CBD products sold thereon, when no such association actually exists.”
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This is the second time Eastwood has won a case of this sort. In October 2021, a judge ordered a Lithuanian company called Mediatonas to pay the actor $6 million for publishing a fabricated interview with him to promote and sell CBD products. the actor apparently asked for $30 million, but the judge awarded $6 million saying it was roughly the amount of money he would make if he did do an endorsement.